Baseball Hall of Fame members speak to local students

RICHMONDVILLE, N.Y. — Baseball Hall of Famers stepped up to the plate to talk to students about how to play the game with integrity and respect Friday in Richmondville.

Big names like Cal Ripken Jr. and Phil Niekro were at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School to talk to more than 500 students about their careers and commitment to healthy living.

“I think we realize, in a way, we’re all role models to a lot of boys and girls; hopefully, some here,” Niekro said.

The duo also discussed the Hall of Fame Museum’s “Be A Superior Example” program which promotes four foundations: fitness, nutrition, character and fair play.

“To hear them talk about fitness and nutrition and character,” Cobleskill-Richmondville head baseball coach Jeremiah Haslun said. “They’re all things that the coaches talk about all the time but to hear it from a Hall of Famer is just priceless, and it has a little bit more weight I’m hoping for the players than it does from a high school coach.

The BASE program covers the four bases of the diamond and also educates students and adults about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.

“I would hope I learned some things from Cal,” Niekro said. “I think he learned some things from me. And hopefully all the students learned a little bit from each of us to tell you the truth. I really enjoyed this this afternoon.”

The BASE program encourages anyone to sign a life pledge to live and play baseball free of PEDs. Those who sign the pledge can see their names in the national registry in Cooperstown alongside the all-time greats.

While it’s a good experience for the students, the program is actually part of the 75th anniversary of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The museum opened to the public for the first time back on June 12, 1939.

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